Why Do Dogs Sneeze? & When You Should Be Worried About It?

There are a lot of reasons why the dog is sneezing. It could be an irritant in the nose, like dust, household products, perfume, dirt, pollen, etc.

Although it is common for dogs to sneeze occasionally, frequent sneezing can be a sign of a potential health condition. So let’s try to dig deeper here to find out if you’re concerned about your pup’s latest sneeze.

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Why do dogs sneeze when excited?

There may be different explanations as to why dogs sneeze when they’re excited. One of the most popular is that dogs tend to curl their lips when they play or have fun. This causes the dog to wrinkle its highly sensitive nose, which can cause a tickle that the body interprets as a cue to sneeze.

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Why does your dog sneeze when you come home?

Most people believe that sneezing is a reaction to positive emotions. Dogs get really excited when they’re excited and happy. And they’re definitely experiencing that when seeing you after you’ve been away for some time.

They’re going to move around fast, curl their lips, and start running around like a maniac. So sneezing is a form of a “calming signal.” Although dogs are getting excited, they are not letting themselves go too far where they might be getting a bit aggressive.

Why do dogs sneeze when playing?

Most dog owners find that their pats sometimes might sneeze while they’re playing, and they even have a name for “play sneezing.” It’s natural and harmless, and it just means that your dog has a lot of fun! It’s particularly common in small breeds, but many dogs do it as well. 

Why do dogs sneeze when play fighting with humans?

Dogs like to play rough stuff. They might even also mimic attacks and display false signs of aggression. Sneezing, in this situation, is a way of reminding that it’s all fun. If things start to get out of control, your dog can sneeze to cool off the anger and keep things light.

Why do dogs sneeze when they are on their backs?

The answer to that question is quite easy, and it’s all about their saliva. When a dog lies on its back, the saliva might drip down into nasal passages.

Sneezing is a perfectly natural dog’s attempt to protect the respiratory system from foreign particles and liquids. And, as a natural response, your dog can push the saliva that has dripped out of its nose. Let’s hope you’re not in the sneeze direction when this happens.

Why dog sneezing when outside?

There are a lot of reasons for this. But all of them come down to the fact that your dog has encountered some irritants. It may be an environmental thing that causes sneezing, e.g., dust or gardening materials, flowering particles from plants, trees or grass, pollen or contaminants, etc.

Other reasons why your dog might be sneezing 

If it’s none of the above, sneezing can be a sign of more severe health issues. Some of the options are the following: 

  • Tooth infection. Some of the pup’s teeth are very close to the nasal passages. So if this tooth or any surrounding tooth is contaminated, it may trigger your dog’s sneeze.
  • Immune-mediated disease. it happens when the pup’s immune system becomes overactive and causes inflammation in the nasal area. It is a common cause of the chronic nasal discharge and may cause sneezing.
  • Tumors. Very rarely, repeated sneezing in dogs can be a symptom of something serious, such as a tumor. Second-hand smoke is the primary cause of tumors in the nasal passages of dogs and is more common in long-nosed breeds. 
  • Allergies. Dogs can often have seasonal allergies to various types of pollen. Allergy sneezes are usually followed by itching, watery eyes, and nasal secretion.
  • Mites. In rare cases, frequent sneezing in dogs may also be caused by nasal mites. These small bugs get through your dog’s nasal passages, and they can get there if your pet loves to sniff and dig into the dirt with its nose.

And that’s just to name a few. If you suspect that your pup might be suffering from any of these conditions you have to consult your vet right away. 

Should you be worried when a dog sneezes a lot?

When it comes to sneezing in dogs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog has a cold or another health condition. In fact, dogs are sneezing for a vast number of reasons. It could be due to something less like a dust reaction or something more significant.

Or maybe it’s a “play sneeze”. It all depends on how many times your dog is sneezing, the color of the discharge (if any). And sometimes you might even confuse sneezing with something else.

 E.g., your dog may be snorting, is usually an indication of upper airway irritation, or is often normal if your dog is overweight. 

An actual sneeze comes from deep inside the chest and releases fluids like saliva or mucus. Allergic dogs, pups with respiratory infections, or similar health conditions often appear to have other symptoms, such as swollen, itchy eyes, cough, runny nose, or colored nasal discharge. So if your pup shows both the real sneeze and additional symptoms, you have to talk to your vet.

Credits: thanks for the cover photo to Canva.

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